Enriching the organizational context of chronic illness experience through an Ethics of Care perspective
School of Business and Law
A growing epidemic of chronic illness in working populations contributes to a negative spiral of work and organizational outcomes including increased absenteeism, prolonged disability or illness claims, early work termination, and non-voluntary unemployment. Chronic illness, characterized by fluctuating trends in clinical and embodied experience along a prolonged time course, is intersubjectively experienced within a social context, and variably responded to and managed within and between organizations and countries. Drawing from global health, we discuss chronic illness experience and organizations as context for chronic illness experience. We then propose a model of ‘organizational caregiving,’ highlighting how invested relational understanding, attitude, intent, and acts of care can enrich the work and organizational experiences of employees with chronic illness.